Five Acres Celebrates 135th Birthday with Spectacular Gala Celebration

Photos by: Paul Takizawa
Published on May 22, 2023

Long-time supporters Nicole Rasic and Trish Gonzales served as co-chairs of the Five Acres “The House of Five Acres” 135th Birthday Annual Gala Celebration. Rasic and Gonzales had met years ago through a mutual friend. Rasic had invited Gonzales to be her guest at Five Acres’ gala, and the rest is history.

The annual gala took place at the historic estate of Connie Holguin in Pasadena on Saturday, March 20, The estate which was constructed in 1897, was designed by Frederick Roehrig, the American architect famous for his landmark building the Hotel Green. Hotel Green had once served as the home of the Tournament of Roses and the Valley Hunt Club. Roehrig also designed Castle Green as an annex to Hotel Green, along with the Andrew McNally House in Altadena.

It was suggested that guests come in their best Victorian finery. Lords and Ladies were encouraged to gather their corsets and full skirts or dapper vests and newsboy caps for the ball of the century!  Guests partied like it was 1888!

The Victorian era, known for significant advancements in technology, scientific discoveries, and societal changes, had given rise to notable movements. During this time, orphanages were established to provide a safe haven for children without homes, those abandoned, or those who had lost a parent. Five Acres opened its doors as one of these orphanages, offering safety and security to the most vulnerable children.

Actors Sam and Amber Jaeger took on the role of emcees for the event. Sam Jaeger, known for his portrayal of Joel Graham on NBC’s television series “Parenthood,” had shown support for Five Acres back in 2013 during the show’s fifth season premiere party. He had a special connection to the charity as a former special friend to a foster child who was living at Five Acres, and he had remained involved with the organization for 10 years. Amber Jaeger, Sam’s wife, has made a name for herself in the film industry with movies like “Take Me Home,” “Solitary,” and “After We Leave.”

“Over the course of its 135 years, our community of supporters has played a vital role in transforming the lives of more than 100,000 vulnerable children and families,” stated Jennifer Berger, Five Acres’ Chief Advancement Officer. “Throughout the years, we have expanded our focus to include well-being and mental health, while also striving to ensure that every child finds a loving and permanent family. We owe our continued progress to the generous support of our sponsors and underwriters.” 

Five Acres is a child and family services agency committed to ensuring that every child has a safe, healthy, and permanent family through advocacy, prevention, and evidence-based services. Initially established as an orphanage in 1888, Five Acres now provides a comprehensive range of programs, including community-based counseling, support services, temporary shelter care, intensive residential treatment for foster youth, as well as foster care and adoption services across six counties. In 2023, Five Acres celebrated 135 years of uninterrupted service, impacting the lives of well over 100,000 community members since its inception. For more information, please visit

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